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When speaking about Ice V.S. Heat we like to use the analogy that Ice V.S. Heat is much like a warm-up before a work out. Before a workout you want to warm up the body to reduce you risk of injury. By warming the body it increases blood flow to the muscles. The “warm” in this example is equivalent to “heat”. When you apply heat to your body, it increases blood flow to that area. Where as ice has the complete opposite effect and slows the blood flow.
During an acute onset and/or exacerbatory period, when pain and inflammation are of concern, ice should be applied to the area. This will cause the body to slow the blood flow the inflamed portion, thus reducing inflammation and pain.
After you progress from the acute phase of care, Dr. Butch might recommend contrast therapy. Contrast Therapy allows you to utilize both heat and ice in your recovery process. Rule of thumb: Always apply the heat first then ice directly afterwards.